Starting Africacom 2016 with a bang this morning, Ericsson made three significant announcements aimed at driving cost efficiency, simplicity and accessibility in the sub-Saharan Africa telecoms industry.
The first – its announcement of a new tower top site design – squarely takes aim at the setup and operational costs operators have to contend with as they continue extending their networks.
“Our new tower top design is a revolutionary concept, in that it’s almost similar to being a zero site solution,” said Ajay Sood, Head of network products for Ericsson sub-Saharan Africa speaking in the AHUB breakaway area Ericsson is the sponsor of at Africacom 2016.
“The design incorporates all of the required electronics, including the baseband, radios, transmission, lowering operational expenditure. Additionally, all of the components have been re-engineered to be low on energy consumption, which reduces power and energy bills.
“Overall, the total cost of ownership for operators when they put sites like this up comes down significantly,” he said.
Sood said that although the solution is designed specifically with the sub-Saharan Africa market in mind, he believes the applicability of the solution will be global because there are similar markets in need of reducing the total cost of ownership of, improved ease of installation and easier maintenance.
And the best news, he said is that the solution will be commercially available in market between the second and third quarter of next year.
Looking at the next step in the equation, namely the technology that resides in the user’s hands, Ericsson announced a new aspect of its partnership with MediaTek, which puts LTE-A capabilities into the hands of the mass market.
“We’re looking at speeds of 300Mbps per second now available in affordable handsets powered by MediaTek.
“That’s significant because today, many users are deprived of a first class Internet experience today because the end-user product is too expensive. This announcement deals with that squarely because, since these new affordable devices are already available,” he said.
And looking lastly at a partnership leading technology leadership, Ericsson and Qualcomm demonstrated LTE-A technology running at speeds in excess of 1Gbps. The equipment supports many different frequency bands, but importantly, bands that are relevant to the sub-Saharan Africa market.
“This means, as and when these bands are made available by regulators, users can enjoy the experience of having video over LTE and speed in the region on 1Gbps,” he added.
“These endeavours are all about making the end user the beneficiary. They should be able to harness what the networks can provide to them.
“And that’s why technology partnerships and new enabling concepts like this are so important,” he concluded.